Archive for category Subject: Nude
These two, which are totally complementary, very nearly caught me out. I was initially surprised that Giovanni had come to them so late in the canon, but was impressed by the freshness and simplicity of the style, which is totally different to some of his early works, some of which have an almost antique quality to them.
They are, in fact, among his earliest productions and were originally published, possibly in a different format, in 1995. There is no clue to this in either the printing history or the advance material. This isn’t Search Press’s fault – when I asked, they had to go back to the Italian publisher to find out.
So, let’s look at what we have. The first thing to say is that this printing is a complete re-working, with a new design and layout. They look exactly like all the rest of Giovanni’s books that Search Press have been publishing in English for some years. And, as I hinted at the beginning, they’re very, very good. The economy of line, attention to detail and variety of poses are second to none and it’s easy to see how I was fooled (I only found out by accident when I was checking ISBNs).
So, on that basis, if you want just about the best primers on figure drawing around, buy these. In fact, you might even want to if you have the originals. – I suspect the format may be larger and the reproduction probably better too.
Click the picture to view on Amazon
There’s something about figure drawing books that makes them all look the same, and I don’t just mean that one unclothed body is very much like another. I think the simple fact is that you always land up with the same dismembered body parts, the same way of analysing muscle structure and very similar poses. In the end, it all seems a bit like a medical textbook.
Never mind though, if that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is and, if someone comes up with a radical approach, it’s a pound to a penny that I’ll be complaining that they’ve ignored a tried and tested formula. Faced with the dilemma, I’ll eat my cake rather than having it, but thanks for the offer.
So, having pretty much condemned this one before we’ve even opened it, is there anything we can salvage? Well, the format helps, for a start, being landscape rather than the usual upright, meaning that the illustrations move across the page rather than up and down it. This may seem like a small thing, but it stands out and gives a more logical sense of movement, which is usually what you’re trying to convey in a static, two-dimensional form. All the main stuff is there – how to do heads, bodies, arms and legs, how the muscles work, how it all fits together and how both male and female bodies work (unlike many, this book does seem to be an equal-opportunity employer). Altogether, it’s a nice compilation and doesn’t overdo its subject, which can also be a problem.
There’s a lot of choice out there in the world of figure drawing books, but this one stands well with the rest and would make an excellent primer.
There’s a lot to be said for a book on figure drawing that finishes after 64 pages. This is, of course, a huge subject and some equally huge and all-encompassing books have been written about it which are both exhaustive and exhausting.
In a series of wonderfully sensitive pencil drawings, Giovanni looks at the practice of figure drawing, explaining the main form, proportion, basic anatomy, muscle structure, perspective and pose. The limited extent of the book means that everything has to be done succinctly and you don’t get page after page of almost identical analyses of muscles or barely-changed poses.
The converse of this is, of course, that the book can only really scratch the surface but, if you want a well thought-out introduction to a huge subject that can be a lifetime’s study in itself, there really is no better place to start.
First published 2007
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